I don't want to pet a snake - A Dose of Encouragement

"Mummy she wouldn't let us out until we did it"

This was what my daughter told me when she got off the school bus and I could see that she was still very upset.

Linda was only in Kindergarten in a school in Delaware, where we had moved to live for a few years because of my husband's work.

Now we had come from Northern Ireland and  there are no snakes in Northern Ireland (but actually nothing to do with St. Patrick).  So the only time we needed to come into close proximity with one is when we saw one in the Zoo.

I have never liked snakes so even when we would go to the Zoo I quite often would just pass by the area with the snakes and my kids had never really complained about this because they were not keen on snakes either.

Well there we were in Delaware in 1993 knowing that there were snakes in America but hoping that they were confined to the hotter, drier mid & south areas of the country.


One day while we were walking with a friend and her children in a large parkland I saw a snake on a rock.  I didn't say a thing but just hurried on by with all the children.

Philadelphia Zoo had snakes but same as before we just didn't bother to go near them.

But never did I think that my daughter's school would be the place where she was going to be confronted with a snake.

Never did I imagine that in her school she would be forced to touch a snake!

Never did I imagine that her Kindergarten teacher was going to be so nasty as to tell the children that they would not be allowed out of the library until they petted this snake.

It was not even a pet in the school but had been brought in by the librarian.

Who would ever think that they were sending their child off to school one day to be told they would not get out of school to get the school bus home without petting a snake.  A child that age would believe what they are told and would worry about how else they would manage to get home.

Linda was like me she hated the sight of snakes and the thought of a snake being near her but the teacher didn't care about that.

Bullying can be done by teachers as well as by pupils and this was bullying.

Touching the snake did not physically harm Linda but it did emotionally for a while.

Thankfully we are not a family to make something like this grow and fester in a child's mind by going over and over the incident or by showing her how really annoyed we were that this had happened because children do not need to know every feeling we have or action we take over things as a protection for them.

Unfortunately we can all go through forms of this kind of thing where people, through some means of manipulation, pressure us into doing things that we really don't want to do.  That we are really uncomfortable doing.  That is just not a right fit with us.

Those things will not harm us physically but they do harm us emotionally and sometimes spiritually too.

God made us all and He made us each as a unique person.

Our thoughts each day are different from others thoughts.

Our feelings are different from others.

Our needs, our gifts, our physical abilities are all different.

What one person does not mind dealing with, the rest of us may cringe from, like Linda and the snake.

God has not made us as we are to then expect us to do a job for Him that we are not suited to.

Sometimes God will bring us to deal with something we are not so keen on but He is there to help us through that and if He is bringing us to deal with it He will not do it through the bullying tactics of another person.

We do not have to listen to people if they try to claim it is something God wants us to do - if God wants you to do something He will confirm that in your heart.

We do not have to listen to people if they try to persuade you that we need to do it because there is no one else to do it - remember if God wants you to do it He may use someone to cause you to know of an opportunity, but He will still confirm it in your heart.

I want to

Learn to seek God for wisdom to know when to say Yes and when to say No

As Linda grew up she learned to say No when something was not right for her, to stand up against the manipulation of others.

However we also cannot take the "say No" idea to mean that we don't have to do anything and that we can just say No to God as He stirs us toward His service.

We can learn to say No 

when it is a man-made opportunity and Yes when it is a God made opportunity.

We can learn to say No

when people think they know best and Yes when we know that God knows best.

We can learn to say No

when others try to manipulate us into the wrong road for us.


We can learn to say YES 

when God confirms in our hearts that this is something He is preparing us for.

I want to

Learn to stand up and say Yes when it is a God made opportunity

I don't want to pet a snake, do you?


10 Things That Made Me Laugh in Ireland

Laughter is good for you.

I have often said it and I do believe it is true and it was certainly good for us during that trip we made for Fred with work in Ireland.

It's the trip that produced the blog post Top 10 things that make a good Hotel Room.

The first comment I had on that blog post was about a hospitality tray and it really made me laugh as I thought of a certain incident during that trip.

So where better to start my list of

1. The Missing ....?

It was in the same bedroom that had all those other failures of being a good hotel room and although it was something we definitely noticed we had to laugh at it because it just seemed so funny compared to everything else that was wrong in the room.

Have a look at this picture and see if you can notice the mistake.

Yes we were in a double room with 2 saucers & 2 spoons 
but only 1 cup.

I can quite understand it if a spoon is missing because well who takes sugar these days (don't laugh - we do) but I certainly think we might need the cup to actually drink the tea or coffee from.

2.  No Room for a Chair.  

Doesn't seem that funny well at least not until you see where there was no room for the chair.

Yes just the very place you need a chair - at the desk/dressing table.

There was so little space between it and the bottom of the bed that a chair could not be placed there and the only way I could work at the laptop was to pull the bed down even closer to the desk and sit on the end of the bed.

Oh yes and guess what  -  it was that same room again!

3.  The Gift of a Crunchie.

n a lovely hotel near Athlone we were greeted with this in our room.

We wondered how they greeted guests on any other days.

"Make it a Malteser Monday"
"Turn in with a Twirl on Tuesday"
"Wake up to a Walnut Whip this Wednesday"
"Take a Taste of a Twix on Thursday"
"Sit down with some Smarties this Saturday"
"Snooze after a Snickers on Sunday"

or maybe it was only the special visitors on Thursday Nights who received a special chocolate treat.

4.  The 9 Colours of Light.

One of the hotel rooms had a large wall mirror which was not unusual.

Then we discovered a panel with lots of buttons & switches beside the bed.

The buttons were numbered 1 to 9 so of course we had to press each one to see what it did.

And the result was the 9 different colours of light which appeared at the top of the mirrored wall.

The last one was just normal light but hasn't come up well in the picture.

It was rather hard to take all 9 pictures of the lights because I was giggling so much.

I just thought - What a waste of money!  Especially when lights 6 & 8 were so close in colour.

5.  The Picture Mystery.

The very next hotel brought us this puzzle.

How could they possibly manage to lose two parts of their pictures?

6.  The Cow Roundabout.

I enjoyed walking around this little town with its narrow streets and just as I realised I had got myself lost I saw this large roundabout with a cow.

Now I have nothing against roundabouts with animals as we had a beautiful one close to where we lived in Belgium but then there were several animals creating the Tervuren Fountain.
It always made me smile.

I really wasn't too sure whether it was the cow that made me laugh or the fact that the roundabout seemed too big for the narrow streets.

10 Things that made me laugh in Ireland

7.  The Case of the Missing Hotel Information Books.

In one hotel we wanted to find out the usual information about the opening hours of the hotel pool and restaurants along with info. on the surrounding area and the ever important checkout time.  So we hunted the room for the Information book or file.

The only thing I could find was a plastic covered page containing the Room Service Menu which had a rather ragged edge (never thought at the time to take a picture).

Eventually I rang reception to say that the hotel information was missing from our room only to be told that they had removed them from all of the rooms because

        wait for it

     they were getting new ones the following week.

Surely the sensible thing would have been to remove the old after they had received the new?

They must not have thought of that.

Oh and the ragged edge of the Room Service Menu   -  was obviously because they had torn the hotel information sheet out of the old info. book to be able to leave the book in the room.

Yes we could have the food menu so that we could spend more money in the hotel but we were not allowed to have other info.

8.  The Foggy Morning.

Our last morning was the morning when there was to be an eclipse of the sun but in Clonmel there was

as we had heavy fog to cover the sun.

9.  The Toilet Key.

Driving back home late that afternoon we had to make a pit stop.

and I laughed so hard when Fred held up the key on a chunky chain.

I had only ever seen that happen in the movies.

10.  A Very Appropriate Song.

We enjoy listening to music and chatting as we drive along.

Suddenly at one stage Fred started to sing "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" at which I really laughed because we were actually driving through the County of Tipperary at that time and he didn't know we were.

Of course I then suggested we might make a wee detour to go see

Tipperary town itself and we followed a few signposts only to find out that it actually was going to be a Long Way to Tipperary from where we were.

One of the hotels had given us a complimentary bottle of Tipperary water so that just had to be our Tipperary memory instead.

I'm looking forward to finding things to laugh about in other trips as well.


Songs for Worship #17

Welcome to the Sunday Series

Last year from January to June I wrote a series on
Why We Worship  where I considered an attribute of God each Sunday.

At different times people mentioned to me about a song that a post reminded them of so I thought that I would now go through those attributes again with a song for each one.

I hope you will follow along with me.

                         Looking today at 

God is Wise

Perfect Wisdom of Our God

The perfect wisdom of our God,
Revealed in all the universe:
All things created by His hand,
And held together at His command.
He knows the mysteries of the seas,
The secrets of the stars are His;
He guides the planets on their way,
And turns the earth through another day.

The matchless wisdom of His ways,

That mark the path of righteousness;

His word a lamp unto my feet,
His Spirit teaching and guiding me.
And oh, the mystery of the cross,
That God should suffer for the lost
So that the fool might shame the wise,
And all the glory might go to Christ!

Oh grant me wisdom from above,

To pray for peace and cling to love,

And teach me humbly to receive
The sun and rain of Your sovereignty.
Each strand of sorrow has a place
Within this tapestry of grace;
So through the trials I choose to say:
“Your perfect will in your perfect way.”

If you would like to see the post from last year that this is based on please click on the graphic below


Christian Songs for Kids - I Will Make You Fishers of Men

Do you find it hard to get visuals and recordings for different kids songs?

I have always found this a problem so I am now sharing songs that I have used with children providing you with

(Powerpoint or Picture or details of how you can make one) 

(chords also available)

(mp3 or video to learn the song) 

Then if you would like to download the visual of the song there will be a link provided to my creation, or I will direct you to where else you can find it.   

This month I am taking the theme of

 Bible Stories

I thoroughly believe we should teach and encourage children to read the Bible and to grow in faith by knowledge and belief in God's Word.

The song I have chosen is 

 I Will Make You Fishers of Men

This is a song that I learned as a child in Sunday School.

It is taken from the words of Jesus in the Bible and contains good advice for us all.

I like the children to have fun singing and doing the actions of this song.

It is also a good teaching tool.


The visual represented above is suitable to be printed on A4 White card.

To Download a copy of this visual for printing on A4 Card or Letter size   


You can print on 6 different cards or use only three by printing "Read your Bible" on the back of the first one, "Pray every Day" on the back of the second one and "If you want to grow" on the back of the third.

I also have it available for Projection as a Powerpoint presentation as shown below

To Download a copy of this Powerpoint slide presentation for projecting  4:3 or 16:9   




I will make you fishers of men
Fishers of men, fishers of men
I will make you fishers of men
If you follow me
If you follow me
If you follow me
I will make you fishers of men
If you follow me.

Read your Bible, Pray every day

Pray every day, Pray every day
Read your Bible, Pray every day
If you want to grow
If you want to grow
If you want to grow
Read your Bible, Pray every day
If you want to grow.


To Download a copy of these words with chords for Guitar or Piano



First Verse
Act as if you are holding a fishing rod and throw out the fishing line each time you sing "fishers of men"
Use forefinger to indicate coming towards you as you sing "if you follow me"

Second Verse
Hands held together palms up in front of you as you sing "Read your Bible"
Hands held together as in prayer as you sing "Pray every day"

Hold one hand out flat palm facing downwards and lift up in stepping motion as you sing "if you want to grow"


Special "Thank You" to my husband Fred who looks after the Recordings and the Chords

This song was written by Harry D. Clarke  but copyright seems to be unknown
see here

FISHERS OF MEN Words & Music by Harry D. Clarke © 1927, Renewed 1955 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream IL 60188 All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. To obtain permission to use or copy this hymn, visit
If anyone has any further info on this song please let me know.

I Hope you enjoy the song and this is a help to you.

If you are interested in finding out about more 

Christian Songs for Kids 

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Please Do not Tell Me What To Do! - A Dose of Encouragement

Throughout his career my husband has travelled a lot all over the world but I have very seldom travelled with him.

Most people who know that he travels will at some time or another ask me why I don't go with him or presume I have gone several times or they tell me I should go.

Over and over I find myself explaining that I do not like spending so much time alone in strange places because not only will I be on my own during the day while he is working but also there are evening work dinners and other meetings out of the "normal" hours for discussion or report writing etc.

Most people then proceed to advise me or tell me what I should do when I go with him; how I should go shopping in these different places or how I should go about finding out the best places to go sightseeing.  Some will even find out things for me and tell me where to go and later expect me to have done this.  Leaving me feeling as if I need to make excuses when I don't go.

Firstly, shopping is ok for a day for me but not for days on end but also I find that most places now have the same shops in similar shopping centres wherever you travel to.  If I can find somewhere with unique little shops then I will enjoy browsing round for a short time but I am not a great shopper, or one who delights in spending extortionate amounts of money on anything.

Secondly, I am not fond of going sightseeing on my own so it would have to be something spectacular or something that was of great interest to me to make me do that and even then I would prefer to share that experience with Fred or someone else.  Making memories are much nicer when they include others.

If you have read my previous post on Top 10 Things that make a Good Hotel Room then you will know that last month I did travel with Fred for a couple of reasons and during those two trips we stayed in 6 hotels - the problem was we were only away for 8 nights.

Checking out of a hotel by 11am or noon practically every day of your trip gets to be rather annoying not just boring and people who have not experienced these types of trips just do not understand how I feel.

Photo credit:  Pixabay

But then there are many, many things that other people have experienced that I never have and so I will not understand how they feel in those circumstances.  I have to accept that and not presume to offer them advice or tell them what they should do in those cases because I don't have the right knowledge or understanding of their feelings.

There are also times when people want to give me advice or detailed information on things that because they are interested in they assume I will be too.

If you have read this far then I am sure that you are nodding in agreement because you have experienced similar "well intentioned" advice and can understand how it feels.

Having experienced this all of my life perhaps partly because I may be described as an introvert and then people believe I need their help; I have learnt from my feelings so that I hope I do not do the same thing to others.

How should we treat others?

In Love, before we even open our mouths to say anything we should pray about it and make sure we know enough about the person to know that what we say will be edifying, helpful and relevant to them.

In Love, accepting that none of us are perfect but that each deserves from the other the respect and care that God shows to us.

This is not always easy because our normal attitudes are to completely think of ourselves and hence see each situation as to how it affects us.

But everything involving more than one person will ultimately affect more than one person.

Each conversation will affect both people in that conversation.

And we can be the one to make the difference in that conversation.

Everything involving more than one person will ultimately affect more than one person.

The two verses quoted above are commands.

If God has told us to do this then we should do it and it must be possible to do this, even through all the events of our everyday lives because God does not expect us to do things in our own strength.
 He wants us to rely on His.

If this then is possible we have the opportunity to see people as God sees them and to treat them as God would treat them.

The two verses quoted above are commands.

If God has told us to do this then we should do it and it must be possible to do this, even through all the events of our everyday lives because God does not expect us to do things in our own strength.
 He wants us to rely on His.

If this then is possible we have the opportunity to see people as God sees them and to treat them as God would treat them.


Songs for Worship #16

Welcome to the Sunday Series

Last year from January to June I wrote a series on
Why We Worship  where I considered an attribute of God each Sunday.

At different times people mentioned to me about a song that a post reminded them of so I thought that I would now go through those attributes again with a song for each one.

I hope you will follow along with me.

                         Looking today at 

God is Alive

He's Alive

Jesus is alive
Death has lost it's victory
And the grave has been denied
Jesus lives forever
He's alive! He's alive!

He's the Alpha and Omega
The first and last is he
The curse of sin is broken
And we have perfect liberty
The lamb of God is risen
He's alive, He's alive!
Jesus is alive!

If you would like to see the post from last year that this is based on please click on the graphic below


Walk This Way to Tayto Castle - Xtra Special Day

We can get soooooo excited when we are going to do something that we have always wanted to do.

That's the way we were just after Christmas in 2012.

We were nearly more excited about going to Tayto Castle than we were about our Christmas Dinners.

This was going to be one of our Xtra Special Days

If you are not Norn Irish then you may well be puzzling over where and what is Tayto Castle.

If you were born here in Northern Ireland or have come to live in this beautiful country then you will probably have heard of Tayto Castle in the small town of Tandragee.

But one thing is sure if you are in Northern Ireland and have not heard of Tayto Crisps then there is something badly wrong because they are the best crisps in the world.

Please note I have NOT been given a big box of Tayto Cheese & Onion or Smokey Bacon to make me write this - unfortunately.

Tayto Castle is the home of Tayto Crisps.

Yes they make the crisps in a Castle.

Only a Castle is good enough for the best crisps in the world.

When our three kids were young I kept saying that one summer we would organize a day trip to Tayto Castle to get the tour and see the crisps being made.

Yes I kept saying it but that didn't make it happen and the years went on with people telling us that you have to book months in advance if not a year in advance if you wanted to go during the school summer holidays.

So we never did make that trip when we were living almost 2 hours away but now we live only 30 mins away and yes we finally got to make that trip.

Only a Castle is good enough for the best crisps in the world.

The Tayto signpost points you to a door in a stone wall for your adventure to begin.

Our fun had already begun as Linda and I were giggling away while I was trying to take pictures.

There is an intercom but it was fun to knock as well.

Then when they released the door for us we were

ready to enter the grounds of Tayto Castle.

Inside there is a short walk up to the part of the Castle where we had to go for the tour

and we saw this lovely feature on the wall of the Castle.

As we got closer there was a part to walk through and of course we had to stop to get a picture of Mr Tayto and his crispy, crunchy crisps.

Inside and we were greeted with masses of crisp signs hanging from the ceiling.

See the yellow pack that's my favourite - Cheese & Onion.

Photo opportunity with Mr Tayto himself and he wasn't the only one who was laughing, we could hardly stand still for the picture we were all laughing so much at the thought of this grown up family (including the boys) getting their picture taken with Mr Tayto.

Everyone working there was so friendly and chatted to us while we sat and waited for the rest of the people on the tour to arrive.

All over the walls were letters from children saying what a great time they had had on the tour.

None of the tour could be photographed and there were rules and regulations about going around the factory which is understandable as safety and contamination has to be of the utmost importance, but no one minds rules for this type of thing.

We walked round and saw

  • the potatoes,
  • the slicing,
  • the cooking,
  • the flavouring
  • the sorting
  • and the packaging
  • and also all the different types of crisps that they make

as well as "testing" out all the flavours.

Yes "testing" as in TASTING.

There is quite a lot of "testing" going on as the tour goes round.

We really enjoyed that part!!!

No handbags, phones, cameras, keys etc. can be taken with you on the tour because of the risk of contamination of the product so basically you take off your coats and empty your pockets and hand over your belongings before the tour starts.

Plus you have to put on an apron and hair nets just as the workers have to wear.

Here we are at the end of the tour when they have a very important moment.

The moment when you have to make the big decision as to what flavour of crisp you want because everyone gets bags of crisps to take home with them.

Now my favourite is Cheese & Onion but I chose Smokey Bacon for my free gift because I had already decided that on the way out we would be buying a big box of Cheese & Onion (they are cheaper to buy in the big box & since then we have rung up and ordered boxes whenever the kids are coming to stay for a while and then we just drive over and pick them up at the Castle).

All the way round in the tour various people were asking questions and the tour guides are very willing to answer and explain almost everything.

Everything except

"What is the secret of the great Tayto Taste?"

That has to remain a secret or Tayto Crisps would not be the greatest Crisps.

You may not learn the secret but the tour is well worth the money and the time.
You will find more info on Tayto HERE

In case you don't know, the pink packet is the Prawn Cocktail flavour crisps.

Remember back to the picture above with the hair nets?

In it we all had our free crisps.

3 of our family Fred, Jonathan & Linda had yellow Tayto Carrier Bags with their choice of crisps whereas Daniel & I had Tayto Multipacks.

Well 2 of the three with the yellow bags had prawn cocktail and salt & vinegar crisps (the two types represented in this picture above).

Can you guess who had the pink packets and who had the blue?

Well the tour was over and we had got our free gift and the last thing was the shop.
We stopped there and got our box of Cheese & Onion and also bought a few little gifts one of which was a yellow Tayto Mug.

Then it was on out to have a last look around outside before we hurried home to finish making our second Christmas Dinner because my sister and her family were coming to visit and it was the 27th December.

But before we got back in the car another picture had to be taken to encourage everyone to go visit Tayto Castle.

Ever the crazy, fun loving, younger sister; Linda had to pose while the boys walked away hoping no-one would know she was with them.

I think it was almost better to have done the tour now because of the fun and humour between us all at this stage in their lives than when they would have been so much younger.

I'm sure they would have been too young before to have enjoyed it as much as we did now.